Introducing: Lupus Est

preview.jpg

A Foreign Effect short story

Hey folks,

at long last I can announce something concrete. In early July 2019 “Lupus Est”, a short story based in the same universe as “The Foreign Effect” will be released.
I can’t give you a concrete date, since Amazon tells me it can take up to 72 hours before they publish an ebook, but yeah. Early July. Amazon. ebook. All the good things I haven’t done before. And that is merely the start. I am aiming for the 4th of July to give you some sci-fi goodness alongside your freedom fireworks.

Later this summer you will see the re-release of The Foreign Effect (both physical and for the first time as an ebook as well). Some of you might have already noticed, that it is no longer available right now, as I am currently moving over to Amazon completely.

Autumn will then see the physical release of Lupus Est and The Foreign Effect together in the “Transferred Edition” and then we can finally move on to the yet to be named “sophomore effort” which is coming along nicely.

So the TLDR: Get “Lupus Est” a short story set in the same universe as “The Foreign Effect” as an ebook on Amazon in July! Prepare for the usual social media spam and more info on “Lupus Est” in the days to come!

So long,
Rich

Things are happening ...

Hi all,

for the first time in almost a year, I feel like I can fill one of these sparce updates with some actual content. Even though there are no definite announcements in terms of titles, covers or release dates in this post, right now all my active projects are in the hands of either editors, or feedback readers so I feel confident in saying:

Shit is happening yo!

Before I go into more detail, please note: Everything I am about to tell you is subject to change. As the runup to, and then the actual release of The Foreign Effect showed me, there is no such thing as a flawless book release.

Enough beating around the bush though, what is happening?
First of all, a short story set in the universe of The Foreign Effect will be released as an eBook later this year. If you liked The Foreign Effect, you probably want to pick it up. That is all I am saying about this one.
On my side of things this short story release is also a test run for this whole ebook thingy because *drumroll*

The Foreign Effect will also see its eBook release, later this year. And it is not only going to be an eBook, it is also going to be a remastered version of The Foreign Effect, with all kinds of iterations and changes that have bothered me for some while now. So if you want to pick up the “original” version, do so here. I can only guarantee the availability of the original version until end of May though. As I said, I am planning to move away from Lulu and I am not sure how fast they will put the book out of commission, once I start doing so.

If eBooks are not your thing, don’t worry, there will also be a physical release later this year, combining the short story and the remastered version of The Foreign Effect into one neat paperback.

That is the primary goal for the end of this year, to have switched over to Amazon completely and have both short story and novella available in print as well as digitally. I am rather certain that this is doable as well.

A little less certain is the eventual release of something new. Let us give it the code name “TSE” - as in “The Sophomore Effort” , my new novel/novella.
I recently finished the first draft, which in my experience is the hardest part of the writing process, as you have to put all your naging doubts and uncertainties about a project aside long enough to write something into existence.

In a perfect world, I will get TSE ready for release sometime by the end of the year, but it is hard to say how many iterations it’ll need until I feel comfortable enough to do so.
So for now we can just say: Something is coming and said something is no longer just an “idea” or “creative writing excerpt” but an actual draft.

As usual I also dabble occasionally in all kinds of writing projects that are however not in a state that I feel comfortable of sharing. I am exploring ideas, that’s all.

Next time I am writing an update, it’ll hopefully include some sort of concrete information.

See you around!

Plans for 2019

Hi,

haven’t posted anything in a while because I don’t want this blog to become a place where I spam non-essential updates, but with the year coming to a close and all, I wanted to share a bit of my plans - writing-wise - for 2019.

First up is a small project that will take up a lot of my time and which I can’t and won’t talk about right now. If everything goes the way it should that project will keep me busy in Q1 and Q4 so there is that.

Second up, I plan to get an “Ultimate Edition” of “The Foreign Effect” out by the end of 2019. My main reasoning for that is, to get away from Lulu and switch over to Amazon, but it is also to get rid of some of the mistakes and querks “The Foreign Effect” has that annoy me to this day. Since it is kind of a dickmove to “just” re-release a novella by itself this “Ultimate Edition” will also contain a different ending to the plot and a couple of dark sci-fi themed short stories. And, big news, this “Ultimate Edition” will ALSO be released as eBook.

For almost a year now I have been wirting short story to novella sized adventures for a cast of characters in a more traditional sci-fi setting as well. Longterm my goal is to get this collection to a point that I can start preping it for a 2020 release.

Apart from these projects I will always obviously work on short stories (new years resolution is to get one of these published somewhere) and whatever else comes up. I don’t like to plan away all of my writing time since I a) learned in 2018 that I don’t write well under pressure, and b) the best ideas are the ones that sneak up on you. It would be a shame if a great idea for a book strikes me and I don’t have the time to actually write it down.

So yeah, probably not the update you wanted, as you will not get new material before end of 2019. I might drop a short story or two on this blog thingy over the year though to keep you guys fed.

All of you reading this, I hope you’ll have a kickass 2019! Thanks for the support!

Rich

Learning by Failing - A "The Foreign Effect" Post Mortem

So, at the time of writing, "The Foreign Effect" has been available for a bit more than four months, after some struggle with some delay also via Amazon. Looking at my pretty much non-existent sales I can't deny the fact any longer, that the time has come to write a post mortem, partly for the people interested in the whole "Releasing a book by yourself" thing, partly for me to formulate and clarify my learnings from this experience.
So here we go:

"The Foreign Effect" released on lulu.com on May 1st 2018 followed by an eventual Amazon release roughly two months later. At the time of this Post Mortem it has sold a whopping five copies. One on Lulu.com and four on Amazon. Before we look into detail why it didn't sell more let us look at the things that went right:

PRO #1: Designing a Cover

I had the advantage of having a person in my social circles that had previously designed book covers for a living so I took the advantage and reached out to her. Lisa and I found common ground quickly and iterated on a couple of ideas that immediately went somewhere great. In my experience working with artists, I like to give them a short initial briefing with tons of reference material and let them work freely from there. Every now and then I would get some drafts, which I provided feedback on but, again didn't get too hands on in the alterations, as I find that to dumb down the results. As expected Lisa delivered a kickass cover on pitch, on time and on budget that was within the technical restrictions given by the publishing service - which I cannot thank her enough for.

PRO #2: Generating buzz pre-release

Leading up to May I came up with 6 weeks worth of "preview" content - be it cover reveals, or the Go-Live of this website etc. - in order to keep the idea of "Hey, I am going to release this book thing soon" in the heads of my friends and followers on social media. There was a clear trend visible of raised engagement with my posts be it comments/replies or likes/retweets/favs. In the small circle that is my social media following I cleary generated some buzz which was eventually killed off by the delayed Amazon release.

Which brings us to the things that went wrong:

CON #1: The books on demand service of choice

Going into this I looked at several books-on-demand services available. I was quickly turned off by the Amazon program as for my uninitiated eyes there was quite a lot of legal red-tape where I wouldn't feel all too comfortable with. So I went with another service that allowed for international release of books on demand copies.
Initially I was quite fond of the tools provided as it allowed me to upload and update my script and my cover without any problems. The issues arose post launch.

  • The Amazon delay
    Releasing The Foreign Effect on Lulu.com on 1st May 2018 I thought getting the book listed on amazon would be a thing of days, maybe a week or two. This was partly my fault as I should have done more research beforehand and the fact, that this listing process can take up to 6-8 weeks IS mentioned on the page, be it somewhat awkwardly hidden.
    The fact that I had to wait for 6-8 weeks for a global amazon release coupled with the fact that buying the book on Lulu is weighted down by adding tons of additional charges (taxes + shipping) on top of it basically nullified any momentum I had built via social media messures going into my release. Quite frankly I am surprised that I sold ANYTHING via amazon once the book was available two months later.
     
  • The lack of transparency
    During that 6-8 week timespan and afterwards I got into contact with Lulu's customer service several times as there was no transparency at all if something was happening. I one day realized I was listed on amazon.fr but nowhere else. I wasn't notified that I was being listed in .fr and once I inquired about why there was no other listings, I didn't hear back for 10 days before I got a two sentence email, basically telling me "it is fixed now" - apart from the fact that it isn't, I am to this day not listed on amazon.ca but at this point I gave up on the whole thing.
    As an author you have absolutely no insight into what the books on demand service is doing with your book, which feeds directly into the next point.
     
  • The delay in revenue analytics
    While sales on lulu.com are displayed in realtime in the author area of the page, sales via amazon have again a delay of 4-6 weeks until they are visible. For me, that is merely annoying, but for any author who releases a book with the intent of making money off of it, it is basically impossible to plan your revenue with a system like that. 

CON #2: The quality of writing

I can't really blame anyone else but me for that one, but the fact of the matter is, "The Foreign Effect" is simply not very good. Or to phrase it more politely: Not as good as it could be.

I basically got feedback on the inital version from three people which I incorporated and reworked quite a lot. After that rework I had the idea in my head, to find other people to review this draft as I was of the notion that if I gave the draft to the same three people again, they would just look for the alterations I made regarding their feedback, and I didn't think that would be productive.
As I failed to find other people who a) were willing to read the thing and b) gave good feedback I somehow lost track of the fact that it would be still better to have the initial three people read the draft again, instead of pushing for the release version. Which, quite frankly, was pretty fucking stupid of me, but as the saying goes, sometimes you do not see the wood for all the trees.

A second mistake I made was cheap out on the editor. I am not a native English speaker and I cannot afford the services of a professional editor. So I cheaped out and found someone on Fiverr who did an editorial for approx. 70 bucks. To noone's surprise but my own, that editorial was bullshit. Upon giving preview copies to a couple of native speakers I was told that there were still quite some mistakes in the printed version. But at that point it was already too late to pull out.

CON #3: Too many preview copies

As a release that was targeted primarily for me to spread among my social circle, I made the mistake of giving out too many preview copies. Roughly sixty (60!) copies of "The Foreign Effect" were handed out to friends, co-workers, aquaintances etc. of which maybe half read the thing and even fewer gave any feedback at all. I was overwhelmed with the whole "I made this" feeling of holding a physical copy of your first book in your hands and - quite untrue to my normal nature - was too generous and kind by handing out copies en masse.

Conclusion

If anything, the release of "The Foreign Effect" was a learning experience. Writing the Cons down might sound as if I am being cynical about it, but I am not. I'd rather make these mistakes by releasing a "hobby project" instead of running into them when it counts. I learned a lot these last couple of months and I like to think, that I will handle a lot of things better the next time around. 
Focusing on one big PRO that I didn't mention prior to that - as a person who has been writing in one form or another since he was 15, for once, I went all the way with a project. I finished it, I released it (and now I buried it?) which is more than most hobby-writers can say. So enough sour grapes! Onward to the next project.
I hope this litte Post Mortem helps other aspiring authors to avoid the mistakes I made and make alltogether new ones themselves ;).

Well ... finally

So there were times I seriously doubted I'd ever write this post, but since sometime last week, The Foreign Effect is finally available on Amazon (almost) globally. Only part of the Amazon family that does not carry my debut novel as of now is amazon.ca ... I am sorry eh! 
No in all seriousness, after what felt like a very one sided conversation with my publishing service I simply cannot be bothered to open that can of worms AGAIN, to get the thing listed on amazon.ca.
In general I am very displeased with my publishing service, a point that I will go into more detail in the eventual "Post Mortem" of The Foreign Effect some months down the line.

But enough moping around, it is done! The book is published! Rejoice!

If you haven't already (seriously, what the hell were you thinking?) go and pick up your copy of, what is in my absolutely unbiased opinion, the best Sci-Fi Thriller out there and feel free to tell me how I am wrong.

I apprechiate every like, share, purchase, comment and review. The fact that there are people out there who spend their hard earned money and time on something I have written is still not really registering in my head. Thank you guys! You are fucking awesome!

Buy your copy of The Foreign Effect on:

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Lulu.com

The Foreign Effect now available on Amazon ... sort of

Hi guys,

in the ongoing struggle that is the release of The Foreign Effect on Amazon I have good news for you ... sort of. At least on amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and amazon.fr you can now purchase my Sci-Fi thriller. As for why it is "out of stock" on pretty much any other Amazon page (especially amazon.de ... as this is probably my core market), your guess is as good as mine. I have contacted Lulu (my books on demand service) about it, but as of now, haven't heard back from them. Good thing this whole book release thing wasn't something I was banking on making money off, otherwise I'd be royally screwed by now.

I will keep you guys up to date if/when anything changes though. For now, if you're in the US in UK or in France, feel free to pick up The Foreign Effect and if you like it (hell, even if you do not like it), maybe leave a review on the amazon listing of your choice.

To make this blog post a bit longer let me give you a quick rundown of what else is happening in the world of "Words and Stories" on my part.

I've been both in a creative low and high at the same time recently.
There are a tons of ideas that I keep exploring and I can't complain about my written output (currently somewhere between 50-100 pages a week), but at the same time it is hard to focus on a single project. I thought I had that whole novel-writing figured out after successfully finishing my first one but boy, was I wrong.

There are so many stories I'd like to tell, and once I sit down to map them out I run into one thing or another that bothers me enough to hit a dead end.

The only thing I was able to complete in the last couple of weeks and months was a fucked-up adaptation of an equally fucked-up source material. So now I not only have to smarten up on the legality of releasing an adaptation (be it an inofficial one) but, if this thing will ever see the light of day, I'll probably release it under a pseudonym as I don't want the thing itself tied to my real name. Don't worry, it is not porn or anything, but it is a very dark and very bleak thriller that carries a message that I am not really comfortable with putting my name  on. On the other hand I am too fascinated by the underlying tones to let it go ... writer problems I guess.

All I know at this point is that I want my next book to be "official" novel length (aka a minimum of 42k words) to be at least able to shop it around "proper" publishers first. The problem with The Foreign Effect was, that its relative short length stopped me from sending it to traditional publishers in the first place.

I am also currently in the process of turning what I initially thought would be my next Sci-Fi novel into a shortstory and try to get that one published - more on that once it actually happens though.

So yeah ... if you are eager for my next piece, it might be a while off as I struggle to wrap my head around things.

Talk to you guys later!

New page in time for release!

Well I figured I might be doing quite some "PR" stuff for the release of The Foreign Effect (read as: excuse to smartass repeatedly about me, my stuff and things I have opinions about).

So to not butcher my gaming blog even more (if you are still interested you can have a look as well) I thought it might be a good idea to get some sort of online portfolio going which will list all my writing stuff and give me an excuse to spam about narrative. 

I know what you are thinking. "Dude writes one book and opens a page", but first of all: shut up! and second of all: Second book is already in the works and coming along nicely. While I do not have the illusion that my writing will allow me to live off of it, crafting fiction is a hobby I'd like to pursue further. Publishing The Foreign Effect already taught me so much and without a doubt will continue to teach me even more going forward (talking about marketing, PR, sales etc.).

At some point when I am through with everything I plan to write a retrospective on the whole process that is The Foreign Effect, but for now I am still busy preparing the soft-cover release as well as the ebook which will follow eventually.

In terms of non-finished writing, the first draft of my new novel is coming along quite well and I am looking forward to get it wrapped up and gather initial feedback from a couple of trusted sources. I decided to put my larger fantasy project on hold for the time being, since I feel like the new novel, workingtitle: SciFi-2, is easier to manage right now. I will come back to the big fantasy project though eventually.

So that is that. Some interesting weeks lie ahead of us.